Engineering global success
May 07, 2004
The business: Peter Brett Associates, Caversham Bridge House, Waterman Place.
One of the key partners: Steve Capel-Davies, deputy senior partner.
What's your business about? "We are a firm of consulting engineers who work for private clients and local authorities. We get involved with the development of large-scale projects, like housing, business parks, transport or brown field site developments.
"We cover all the work, from planning right through to solving problems like transport issues or noise management. We also do the detail of the engineering and the checking and supervising of the construction work and we always look to work with fellow professional like architects and landscapers.
"Problem management is one of our key functions and we often have to carry out work within a programme and a budget.
"Nowadays, there's a lot of challenging issues we have to resolve like climate change, and we cover the growing area of environmental impact.
"The move to the new office last month is welcome because it allows us to see more of each other and perform better.
"Coming from four small buildings to a new open-plan environment gives a motivating sense of adventure. We also have got offices in the UK and overseas.
"We are approaching 10 in the UK, with offices in Kent, London, Swansea and Birmingham and there are others in Europe, South Africa and Australia."
Do you have any employees? "We are about 255 here but we are about 400 across all the offices."
How did it all start? "The practice was founded in 1965 - it started with Peter Brett, who was a structural engineer.
"Originally, it was a very small group of people working with architects but it then came to dealing with more and more issues and the practice grew.
"We have grown organically through developing new
business opportunities and bringing in new people.
"I am a civil engineer by background and I was with the Thames Water Authority and then I left to work for the National Rivers Authorities before joining PBA in 1990."
What's your view on the economy?
"We feel it's doing very well."
Do you think that an enlarged EU will help the UK
economy? "We have an office in Prague so we view that positively - there's going to be lots of incentives."
Do you think the Government and local authority do enough for businesses? "They could always do more."
How is the future looking for your business? "We believe it's got a very good future."
What would be the biggest threat to your business? "If there was a severe downturn in the economy, I suppose that would be the biggest threat."
What is the key to your success? "To treat with respect staff and clients and provide a caring company that encourages the employees to fulfil their ambitions."